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Workers had nightmares and refused to do the job
Published on: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Keningau: The contractor tasked with the earlier relocation of the Batu Sumpah (Oath Stone) in the mid-1980s to allow for a road expansion said his six workers had nightmares and refused to carry it out.

"But as an employer, I took over the job as I received work orders amounting RM7,000 issued by the Public Works Department for the relocation," said Philip Lee, now a businessman.

The Batu Sumpah was relocated for a second time to a permanent site 500 metres away near the Keningau Museum. The first relocation 33 years ago was from the old District Office to the Keningau Secretariat compound around 1984 and 1985. "It took me about 40 minutes to travel when I relocated the Batu Sumpah from the old District Office to the Keningau Secretariat compound," Philip said.

He said the planning alone took almost a week as a Bobolian (shaman) held a ceremony several times to ask permission before starting the digging work.

He said at that time, the machinery available in Keningau was too limited and so he used two 950D loader machines to lift the Batu Sumpah onto the lorry.

"We did not break the Batu Sumpah site and brought it together to the Keningau Secretariat compound.

"During the relocation I was about 29. Now I am over 60," said Philip, who worked as a Site Manager in his father's company (Abdul Razak Lee).

It was during the first relocation that the original plaque bearing the crucial words "Kerajaan Malaysia Jamin (Malaysian Government Guarantees)" went missing and was replaced with one that did not have the three key words.

However, the missing plaque resurfaced almost 30 years later and was handed over to the Sabah Museum which referred the matter to former State Secretary Tan Sri Richard Lind to verify its authenticity.

Lind confirmed that it was the missing plaque as it was he who was commissioned to erect the plaque after being sent by first appointed Chief Minister Donald (later Tun Fuad) Stephens to ask the Interior natives led by Sedomon as to why they continued to oppose the formation of Malaysia despite a year after independence.

They told Lind that they would agree only if the Federal Government agreed to their demands on stone for perpetuity with a permanent guarantee instead of on paper which could be thrown into the bin by subsequent federal governments.

The demands referred to freedom of religion, respect for native adat and State control over land.

The stone was then officially consecrated on 31.8.1964 – the original date that Sabah was supposed to achieved independence through the formation of Malaysia.

Among those present to observe the event which was conducted by pagan priests and priestesses was the Agong.

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